FINANCIAL AID SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP)

The Sinclair Community College (Sinclair) Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy changed effective August 15, 2013. The following summary of policy provisions is provided.

There are no changes to the minimum requirements of SAP. They are:

  • Maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA;
  • Maintain at least a 66.67% cumulative pace of completion (i.e., credit hours successfully completed relative to credit hours attempted); and
  • Complete program before attempted credit hours equals or exceeds 150% of the credit hours required for program completion.

 

The major changes include:

  • GPA for Financial Aid: Credit hours for developmental and English as a Second Language that earned a grade of "S", "P", "N", or "U" are included in the calculation of cumulative GPA. The grades have been assigned a grade level of 2.0 for an "S" and "P", and zero for "N" and "U".
  • Pace of Completion: Transfer credits are included in the calculation of cumulative pace of completion. They are treated as both attempted and successfully completed.
  • Maximum Time Frame: Uses a new "Alert Process" that will notify a student at the end of a term when he/she is within 24 credit hours of reaching the end of his/her aid eligibility (no lengthy monitoring process).
  • Program of Study: Enrollment in multiple programs of study requires multiple SAP evaluations.

Why do we measure Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Federal regulations require students receiving federal student financial aid to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a federal aid eligible program. A student that registers for a term for which the school has received a federally processed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding award year will have his/her academic record evaluated at the end of the term.

What requirements does SAP measure?

Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) - 2.0 cumulative GPA (qualitative measure) A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0 must be maintained for aid eligibility. It is computed by dividing the total grade value (given the successfully completed credit hours) by the total attempted credit hours at Sinclair, including credit hours from developmental and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Transfer credits accepted from other institutions have no grade value. They are excluded from the GPA calculation.

The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy differs from the SCC Academic Policy in its calculation of GPA and definition of maximum time frame. Sinclair's Academic Policy calculates cumulative GPA excluding the credit hours graded with a colon, which designates a Fresh Start course. In addition, there is no grade value for S, P, P:, U, and N in the Sinclair grade scheme. However, they are assigned a grade value for Financial Aid SAP, because the grades for remedial courses for which a student received federal aid must be included in the qualitative SAP measure. For SAP purposes, all credit hours graded for developmental and English as a Second Language courses are included in the cumulative GPA calculation.

Minimum Cumulative Pace of Completion - 66.67% successfully completed credit hours (quantitative measure) A cumulative pace of completion of at least 66.67% must be maintained for aid eligibility. It is computed as a percentage of the total successfully completed credit hours relative to total attempted credit hours. Sinclair credit hours for college level, developmental, and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, are counted in attempted and, if appropriate, completed hours. In addition, transfer credits accepted from other institutions are counted in both attempted and completed credit hours.

Maximum Time Frame -150% of credit hours required for program completion (quantitative measure) The maximum time frame of federal aid eligibility toward the completion of a program is 150 percent of its published length in credit hours. It is computed as a percentage of credit hours attempted relative to 150% of the number of credit hours required for program completion. Sinclair credit hours for college level courses and transfer credits are counted in attempted credits.

A student must to be able to complete mathematically the program of study within the maximum time frame.

The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy differs from the Sinclair Academic Policy in its definition of maximum time frame to complete a program. Sinclair's Academic Policy allows six years for the completion of an associate degree program. Students will not receive federal financial aid for any courses taken that equal or exceed 100% of the financial aid maximum time frame calculation, which is a measure of attempted credit hours divided by 150% of the credit hours required to complete the program of study, unless approved through the SAP appeal process.

Categories of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Statuses

A student will be assigned a SAP status in one of the following categories: Financial Aid Satisfactory, Financial Aid Warning, Financial Aid Unsatisfactory, Financial Aid Maximum Time Frame, or Financial Aid Probation.

See the following table for a summary of how each status is treated:

If a student's SAP status is one of these categories: Financial Aid
Satisfactory
Financial Aid
Warning
Financial Aid
Unsatisfactory
Financial Aid
Probation
Financial Aid
Maximum Time Frame
Is the student eligible for federal financial aid? Yes Yes No Yes No
  Meets all three SAP requirements:
  • Cumulative GPA is at least 2.0
  • Cumulative Pace of Completion is at least 66.67%
  • Maximum Time Frame is less than 100%. That is, total attempted credit hours are less than 150% of the credit hours required for program completion.
Fails one or both of requirements for cumulative GPA and cumulative Pace of Completion. Prior term's SAP status must have been a Financial Aid Satisfactory status Fails one or both of requirements for cumulative GPA and cumulative Pace of Completion. Prior term's SAP status must have been a Financial Aid Warning, Financial Aid Unsatisfactory, Financial Aid Probation for One Term, or Financial Aid Probation with an Academic Plan. Successfully files an appeal after being assigned to a Financial Aid Unsatisfactory or Financial Aid Maximum Time Frame status. Fails to complete program of study before total attempted credit hours is equal or exceeds 150% of the credit hours required for program completion
Does the Student Need to Appeal to Reinstate Financial Aid Eligibility? Appeal is not necessary. Appeal is not necessary.

Warning Period is ONLY one semester.
Yes, if there are extenuating circumstances a student may appeal. Appeal was filed and approved and the student remains eligible. There are two probation statuses:
  • One term probation; or
  • Academic plan probation.
Yes, if there are extenuating circumstances.

Can a student be enrolled in multiple academic programs concurrently?

A student may not be enrolled in multiple academic programs concurrently effective April 16, 2014.  Students having more than one program of study on their record will be required to select only one program of study.  Students should contact Academic Advising or the Counseling/Advising representative at your regional center if they have questions concerning their selection of a single program of study.

When is the SAP evaluation performed?

SAP is performed at the end of each term, i.e., Fall, Spring, and Summer.

Note: An intersession is combined with the term that follows, and credit hours attempted are evaluated at the end of that term, i.e., Fall, Spring, or Summer.

SAP requirements are calculated on cumulative data, whether or not a student received financial aid for the attempted hours.

When is a student notified of SAP statuses?

A student is notified via letter and/or email (via his/her my.sinclair.edu email address) if there is a change in the student's status or a loss of aid eligibility within 5 business days of the SAP evaluation that occurs at the end term.

How does a student file a SAP Appeal?

A student may appeal the suspension of financial aid eligibility based on extenuating circumstances.

Timeframe for Appeal and Decision: A SAP Appeal may be filed at any time, but only once after each SAP evaluation period. Appeals will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.

A student will be notified by letter and/or email (via his/her my.sinclair.edu email address) within 10 business days of the Appeals Committee's decision. The decision is final. If denied, a student may file another appeal in a subsequent term if there are additional circumstances.

If an appeal is approved, it is effective for the current term, if registered, or the next term in which a student is registered, and for which Sinclair received a federally processed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. If registered in the current term, a student may be reimbursed up to the amount of the accepted awards, if any, for the cost of tuition, fees, and book expenses incurred for the term. Any credit balance of aid awarded will be issued no later than 14 calendar days from the date it occurs.

Note: A student is responsible for any tuition, fees, and book expenses incurred if enrolling in a term prior to a SAP appeal decision on aid eligibility. If an appeal is denied, no aid will be awarded. The College offers the FACTS payment plan as a payment option.

Appeal Form and Documentation of Extenuating Circumstances:

The written SAP appeal must include:

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal form [PDF]
  • Written statements that address: (Note: These questions are included on the Appeal form.)
  • The circumstances that occurred that contributed to the student's failure to meet the minimum standards of academic progress, and
  • What has changed in his or her circumstances to allow the student to achieve satisfactory academic progress within a reasonable period of time?
  • Written explanation and documentation of the extenuating circumstances. (Note: Additional documents may be requested by the Appeals Committee to evaluate the appeal.)
  • Extenuating circumstances include illness, accident, grievous personal loss, employment change or relocation, or other circumstances beyond the student's control. Extenuating circumstances does not include difficulty with scheduling, transportation, dependent care, or a dislike of an instructor or mode of instruction.

Appeals Committee Decision:
Each appeal is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will determine the merit of the appeal by considering: the extenuating circumstance(s) and its resolution, the thoroughness of documentation, GPA, pace of completion, number of credit hours and length of time to completion of program, and prior appeals submitted. If the appeal includes extending maximum time frame, the Committee will consider: the student's reason(s) for changing a program of study or pursuing a second or subsequent degree; prior satisfactory academic progress performance; and credits hours remaining to complete program of study.

Submission of an appeal does not guarantee reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. If approved, a student is placed on Financial Aid Probation status with aid eligibility, and the student is notified within 10 business days of the decision. Based on the time needed to achieve a Financial Aid Satisfactory status or complete the program of study, there are two Financial Aid Probation statuses: (See details under Categories of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) statuses- Financial Aid Probation).

  • One term probation: Probationary period is one term to achieve minimum SAP standards. If SAP appeal was for maximum time frame, the program of study must be completed.
  • Academic plan probation: Probationary period is defined by the academic plan, which is developed by an Academic Advisor and agreed to by the student. A student's progress is reviewed at the end of each term and evaluated on the basis of the requirements of the academic plan. A change in academic program prior to successfully completing the academic plan will result in suspension of aid eligibility with no recourse for appeal.

If an appeal is denied, a student is notified of the loss of aid eligibility within 10 business days of the decision.

 

How can financial aid be reinstated if the student's SAP status changes?

A student that is ineligible to receive aid as a result of not meeting the minimum SAP requirements, and did not file a successful appeal, will be included in the SAP evaluation at the end of a subsequent term of enrollment, if Sinclair has received a federally processed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, for the corresponding award year. If the minimum SAP requirements are met, the student's financial aid eligibility will be reinstated. It is the student's responsibility to contact the Financial Aid office and request a SAP evaluation, if not updated timely. The student will be notified within five (5) business days via letter and/or email (via his/her my.sinclair.edu email address) of the SAP evaluation if the SAP status is Financial Aid Satisfactory and the student is aid eligible. Financial aid awards cannot be paid retroactively for the term(s) during which a student was ineligible to receive financial aid.

Please see a Sinclair Financial Aid Officer for additional information or for a copy of the complete details of the financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy.